Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

News-Press Mess Rally on Tuesday 7/18

Please Note: Got this from a reader that lists their pseudonym at the bottom as anonymous -- with tips to my email, I won't divulge identities unless told it is okay or names are purposely placed in the text of the tip/community post -- Hope that makes sense to all y'all -- Sara.

July 18th rally will happen to BUILD BACK THAT WALL between the News and Opinion content of Santa Barbara News-(Sup)Press, and to cancel subscriptions and demand a refund for the remaining prepaid amount. Advertisers also can be informed about this growing public concern.

Rally at Noon, Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Location: De La Guerra Plaza, in front of News-Press building, downtown Santa Barbara
(in public park near City Hall, on De la Guerra St. between State St. and Anacapa St.)

This is an ultra-grassroots event with none of the usual suspects as organizer or sponsor, because the credibility of the daily newspaper affects everyone, from radical activists to the stodgy business establishment. Nobody has to pick sides or feel uncomfortable by association about who is or is not the lead on this rally, as everybody needs a credible daily newspaper.

Although this rally may be considered too far off for the pent-up demand, it still needs some advance time to find and invite the Credibility Heroes of the ousted News-Press editors and writers, as well as to confirm some other speakers with schedules to accommodate. As speakers are confirmed during the next few days, look to fresh postings at the various blogs on the topic, as well as some email lists.

Even a week away, this rally will continue to be a fresh and timely issue then, with more news articles anticipated nationwide (New York Times apparently is doing yet another article), and an expose by Barney Brantingham in Santa Barbara Independent on July 13. All this is in addition to his blistering comments in the three TV news interviews, plus his long expose in Santa Barbara Independent on July 13, plus anything else juicy in the Independent and elsewhere about the News-Press meltdown and Credibility Crisis. See these TV news links on the story: video text

Unfortunately, the usual Wall separating the Opinion Church from the News State has now crumbled with the purges on Bloody Thursday (July 6, 2006), when the 6 (yes, 6) top editors and the legendary columnist Barney Brantingham were pushed out of their jobs or resigned in disgust. As a result, no clear boundary remains between who controls the editorial or opinion content, versus what goes in a news article. That's a problem.

As a result, the newspaper has lost its credibility, and people and organizations that effectively have been black-listed from the Opinion pages now may be, or already are, black-listed from the news articles and other public-serving venues in the newspaper. That is going too far and breaks the bounds of standard professional standards and ethics.

"Black-listed" from the Opinion pages means they cannot get letters published (no matter how pertinent), and/or they are the consistent targets of criticism, no matter how trivial or repetitive. Conversely, public officials and others also may be praised or sugar-coated too much in news articles because the Wall has crumbled that should separate the Opinion Church from the News State. Black-listed from the Opinion pages is annoying and unfair, and reflects more on the writer than the subject, but black-listed from the News content is selective and suspect reverse-censorship.

The editorial opinions of the newspaper owners and publishers already are interweaving with the straight news content, thereby blowing the credibility so readers do not know what to believe as fact, selective omission, or melded opinion. "Happy news, ads, and opinion all smooshed together." The readers and the whole community need a credible record of the news held up to the highest professional and ethical standards. Such credibility includes an impermeable wall separating the Opinion pages from the News pages.

To paraphrase President Reagan: Mrs. McCaw, Build Back That Wall!

The new news editors hired either will be total Yes-men (yes, they all are men), or they will be intimidated or terrified and be unable to resist the meddling into the news content. After the raw power purges on Bloody Thursday, why should anyone expect the new news editors to do anything contrary to the wishes of the Ownership? Those new editors were hired for a reason, further feeding that Elephant in the Newsroom.

Everyone who cares about credibility and believability for what should be the local "News of Record" should come to the half-hour rally at noon on Tuesday, July 18th.

To cancel your subscriptions and get a refund for what is prepaid-paid, call them at 805-966-7171. A blog commenter noted they said a refunded would be made.

Send me ideas for the rally, or post them at the Indy Media Blog. The attachments (via the email version) is an editorial cartoon from Ventura County Star. Print it and bring it to the rally.

remaining anonymous to avoid the Black-list,
the Church/State Separatist


Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Jane Hulse said it best, but I doubt they want that chanted or yelled during this rally.

7/11/2006 7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a statewide newspaper convention meeting in L.A. Saturday. This year's ironic theme: "Courage & Credibility: the Heart of the American Newspaper."

7/11/2006 9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Naive to ask, but, here goes--think Wendy will allow any letters to the editor to be printed, respectfully disagreeing with her mixing of news and opinion.

7/11/2006 9:55 PM  
Anonymous No news isn't good said...

hey thanks CSS for putting the word out on this rally. Our community needs a chance to vent a bit and reaffirm why we care so deeply about the damage that McCaw and Armstrong have done to our local newspaper.

7/11/2006 9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy, does this sound like someone is blowing the goat horn hoping for a really ugly herd to show up. I agree that the New Press debacle is serious and has implications that resonate throughout the community. An idiotic action on Ms Mc Caw's part does not require an equally idiotic response from the community. I fear that this rally has all that potential. As a 60's person I remember a lot of passionate rallies. Almost all the speeches were delivered by third rate egomaniac's with an axe to grind or a reputation to build. RFK, Cesar and MLK must have been on the road somewhere else because most of the sh-- was intolerable. The best speeches of the entire decade could be put on a thirty minute DVD. Not because they weren't good but because they were concise and to the point. The situation demanded seriousness and clarity. This looks like a call to mass, longwinded, foolishness. While I plan to support the good people left at the News Press I don't think sinking my sneakers in the urine soaked grass of De La Guerra Plaza is where I will make my stand. Wait a while, be smart. But, if you must, please, enjoy all the bad rhetoric. I will be cringing with you in spirit.

I hope they don't ask you to hold up lighters.

7/11/2006 10:21 PM  
Anonymous Church/State Separatist said...

Wow! the anonymous critic above from 10:21pm can infer quite a lot from my description of the rally and the issues about the lack of news credibility.

I did not know I was such a good writer to indicate the interest and competency of the speakers.

Sam Singer, you reading our local blogs now?

7/11/2006 11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:55, I doubt Wendy will publish those letters, but I noticed the Sound has had a few.

7/11/2006 11:40 PM  
Anonymous BONES said...

I'll be there..maybe Wendy will have her own little police force surrounding her white palace..if you are sick of a billionaire using an established Newspaper to bore us with her petty trying to stop the public beach access below her Hope Ranch mansion; or her snit with Susan Rose..played out in repeated editorials; or her flunkies trying to go after retirement benefits of city and county workers; or her monumental hypocrisy...then come to the rally and show this woman and her little monkey boy Travis what Santa Barbara is made of! Not all of us talk on cell phones and walk our designer dogs!!

7/12/2006 6:33 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

Hmm. CSS has some great POV's, while Anon 10:21 is equally correct.

Several good and decent people I know have been blackballed lately by the NP with incorrect or inaccurate reporting of "facts" in both the news and editorial side of the paper.

But hot headedness only plays into Wendy's hand, and can be manipulated into making her and the NP "victims" of disgruntled former employees.

A big question is - would the NP report the rally? And how will the people that stayed in their jobs be treated (like scabs or with compassion for understanding they have bills to pay).

Just don't let a rally degenerate into something that makes the good people of SB all look like fools. JMHO.....dd

7/12/2006 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Free Speech is as free speech does said...

interesting to read all the hand-wringing from the community's elder speech is a good idea......let's not let blogging replace boldly showing our faces and expressing our voices. Playing into Wendy's hands? She is an international joke at this moment so i don't think we should fret too much about that or let fear of how an unpredictable personality will act drive our actions (or inaction)

7/12/2006 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Naive to ask, but, here goes--think Wendy will allow any letters to the editor to be printed, respectfully disagreeing with her mixing of news and opinion.

Probably, if someone actually gave a specific example. That's a foreign concept to this blog.

7/12/2006 2:13 PM  
Anonymous voice of reason said...

I had relatives visiting from red-state Florida today. When I told them about the rally being planned against the News Press, they wanted to know why the community is more worried about a local independent newspaper, moreso than the national media monopolies. Is Wendy pumping pro-war rhetoric at us like Fox? Hardly.

The anti-NewsPress people keep whining about her agenda. They point to Travis as the delivery man. But what is this agenda? No one here has been able to say. Not even blogleader Sara can articulate what the feared agenda is. Travis is pro slow-growth and public input, and he's an animal rights defender. And he's not too fond of our Mayor. Those opinions have been expressed on the editorial pages where it is appropriate to do so. Are anti-NP's telling me that having him run the newsroom is supposed to be scary?

Wake up, there are some serious problems going on in the world that need your activism. Animal lovers running the local newspapers is not one of them.

7/12/2006 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's more on the controversy...from a former newspaperman and independent journalist applauding the Santa Barbara Seven...

7/13/2006 7:50 AM  
Blogger john san roque said...

TO Voice of Reason:

Maybe no one picked up on your previous posting because you're missing the point--actually, several points.

1. We're not anti-News-Press. We're pro New-Press. We want a good and credible local newspaper.

2. The issue is not the McCaw or Armstrong "agenda". The agenda in this recent crisis is simply honest reporting. I actually agree with a good part of the "agenda" of the current NP people: pro-environment, animal rights, anti-war, etc.

3. To illustrate point #2 above, the only two mentions of the current problem in the NP have been "open letters" by Armstrong and McCaw. There have been zero news articles because a news story would have too much truth in it, even after Armstrong got finished polishing it up for publication. (There are also a few really hilarious letters to the editor today which completely contradict any point of view I've heard expressed.)

Here's a simple question: if you can't believe what the News-Press has written about the reason the editors and reporter resigned, what basis would you have for believing any other news article or open letter or editorial?

Isn't that the issue?

7/13/2006 10:06 AM  

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